(This story was updated at 6:43 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 19, 2010, to include information about an arrest of a possible suspect in the case.)
By most accounts, the January 15 40th birthday concert in Detroit by rocker Kid Rock was a smashing success, except for an unknown number of fans who reportedly fell victim to a counterfeit ticket scam.
According to Roseville, MI police, a number of fans who bought tickets to the show on Craigslist were swindled, and authorities confiscated more than 150 fake tickets by show time, according to the Detroit News, which first reported the news. The police are asking for the public’s assistance in apprehending a scalper who allegedly sold the phony tickets.
As a result, Live Nation, which is promoting Rock’s current Born Free Tour, has weighed in, and it is warning fans to avoid ticket scalpers. Rock expressed similar sentiments late last year in an angry rant on his Web site, in which he blasted scalpers and secondary ticket market Web sites that resell tickets. In the profanity laced posting, Rock wrote that he is trying to do what he can to make it difficult for ticket brokers and scalpers to obtain tickets to his shows.
“IF I COULD CONFRONT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF [the online brokers and scalpers] FACE TO FACE I WOULD AND IT WOULD NOT WORK OUT TO WELL FOR THEM I GAURANTEE ALL OF YOU [sic],” Rock wrote.
“Don’t buy from Craigslist. Don’t buy from scalpers. Buy from Ticketmaster, the box office or the fan club. Otherwise, buyer beware,” Dave Clark, a marketing vice president at Live Nation, told the Detroit News.
Police in Ferndale, MI said today, January 19, that they had arrested a suspect in the alleged counterfeit ticket scam, a 26-year-old Warren, MI man named Justin Gnesotto. He has been charged with a misdemeanor and police believe he may have been involved in selling several fake tickets to the concert.
In some respects, Clark’s comments are not surprising, considering Rock is one the company’s clients and because top executives Michael Rapino and Irving Azoff have publicly complained about the secondary ticket market in the past.
Yet, Live Nation still owns and operates two secondary ticket companies — TicketsNow and Ticketmaster’s TicketExchange — and a check of TicketsNow today, January 19, turned up hundreds of available tickets on the secondary market for more than 20 of Rock’s upcoming shows, many of which were listed for several hundred dollars above face value.
Since acquiring TicketsNow for $265 million in 2008, Ticketmaster (and subsequently parent company Live Nation) have faced criticism over its business practices, and struggled with what to do with the reseller, including possibly selling the company.
Clark’s comments would appear to put even more distance between TicketsNow and the rest of Live Nation. In fact, Clark went a step further in an interview in the Macomb Daily.
“You always must beware of those people who are reselling their tickets or fake tickets at a higher price. When you buy tickets from these people you are fueling their fire to come up with new scams,” Clark said.